Daily Press Briefing
Statements made by
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson
(Paris, June 27, 2007)
[Please note that only the original French text issued by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs may be considered official.]
Rama Yade, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Human Rights, went to the Senate Tuesday, June 26, to present six bills approving international conventions which reflect France’s commitment to furthering human rights and fundamental freedoms. They confirm France’s resolve to fight for the abolition of the death penalty, the protection of children’s rights and against the trafficking of human beings.
After the session, the bills were unanimously adopted by the senators.
For your information, the bills concerned the following conventions:
1) Protocol no. 13 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms concerning the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances;
2) The Second Optional Protocol to the International Pact on Civil and Political Rights aiming at the abolition of the death penalty;
3) The Hague Convention of October 19, 1996 on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Cooperation in respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for Children’s Protection;
5) European Convention on the Exercise of Children’s Rights;
6) Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking of Human Beings.
Q - Danish rapporteur Lasse Christensen believes that the monitoring system set up by the Lebanese authorities on the border with Syria is insufficient and he also denounced the integrity of border security agencies and personnel. What is France’s reaction?
We read with the utmost interest the report by the independent evaluation mission and its recommendations.
First I would like to emphasize that strengthening controls at the Syrian-Lebanese border is a priority for the international community. At issue are Lebanon’s stability and security. Recent events have shown how important this issue is. The arms embargo established in UNSCR 1701 must also be respected by all, and first of all Syria. Everyone is required to comply with this obligation. Yet according to information from various sources, there is illegal arms trafficking at the border which is extremely disturbing.
In this context it is essential to help the Lebanese government, which is showing it is determined about this, to strengthen control of its borders. The mission noted a number of weaknesses and shortcomings in the current arrangements and identified possible areas for improvement.
We shall be examining these recommendations in liaison with the Lebanese government and our partners, in particular in the Security Council, to determine what to do next. We are also waiting for the secretary-general’s next report on SCR 1701 which will probably look at this problem again.
Q - Is it correct to say that the border issue is now the main concern in French foreign policy?
Our concerns are not focused on this question alone. They deal more generally with ways of ensuring Lebanon’s independence, sovereignty and stability.
Q - Is it true that France has asked Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to prepare a report devoted exclusively to the border issue?
The Security Council, in its last statement on April 16, 2007, endorsed the decision to send an independent evaluation mission to look at the border control arrangements, in liaison with the Lebanese authorities. This mission has just handed in its report. I don't see what other report you are referring to.
Q - Is Shebaa Farms part of the border issue?
The question of Shebaa Farms is being examined in the context of SCR 1559, 1680 and 1701.
Embassy of France, June 28, 2007